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United States of America v. Juvenile Male

January 25, 2012

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JUVENILE MALE, DISTRICT OF MONTANA DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JUVENILE MALE, DISTRICT OF MONTANA DEFENDANT-APPELLANT. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
JUVENILE MALE, DISTRICT OF MONTANA DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



D.C. No. 4:09-cr-00064-SEH-1 D.C. No. 1:09-cr-00034-RFC-1 Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Montana Richard F. Cebull, Chief District Judge, Presiding D.C. No. 4:09-cr-00071- SEH-1 Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Montana Sam E. Haddon, District Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wardlaw, Circuit Judge:

FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Argued and Submitted

September 21, 2011-San Francisco, California

Before: Kim McLane Wardlaw, Ronald M. Gould, and Jay S. Bybee, Circuit Judges.

Opinion by Judge Wardlaw

OPINION

Three juvenile defendants, each of whom is a member of an Indian Tribe and who pleaded true to a charge of aggravated sexual abuse with children, appeal their conditions of probation or supervision requiring registration under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 42 U.S.C. § 16901 et seq. Defendants argue that SORNA's registration requirement contravenes the confidentiality provisions of the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act (FJDA), 18 U.S.C. § 5031 et seq., and also challenge its constitutionality. We have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291 and 18 U.S.C. § 3742. Because we conclude that Congress, in enacting SORNA, intentionally carved out a class of juveniles from the FJDA's confidentiality provisions, and that SORNA's regis- tration requirement is constitutionally sound, we affirm the district courts' imposition of the sex offender registration conditions.

I. Background

These consolidated appeals - United States v. Juvenile Male (I.M.T.D.), United States v. Juvenile Male (L.S.), and United States v. Juvenile Male (M.M.R.) - involve juvenile proceedings against three Native Americans who pleaded true to committing aggravated sexual abuse with children. As a condition of probation or supervision, each was required to register as a sex offender pursuant to SORNA.

A. Juvenile Defendants

1. I.M.T.D.

I.M.T.D., an enrolled member of the Fort Peck Tribes, was charged with committing an act of juvenile delinquency pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5031 et seq. for offenses committed in July 2008. I.M.T.D. was born on June 21, 1991 and thus was seventeen years old at the time of the offense and is twenty years old at present. If I.M.T.D. had been an adult at the time of the offense, the charge against him would have constituted aggravated sexual abuse with children in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153(a) and 2241(c).

On August 5, 2009, I.M.T.D. pleaded true to the information without entering into a plea agreement. On August 25, 2009, the district court entered a disposition sentencing

I.M.T.D. to a three-year term of probation, subject to several conditions. As special conditions, the district court ordered

I.M.T.D. to "comply with the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act;" "comply with Sexual Offender Registration requirements for convicted offenders in any state in which [I.M.T.D.] resides;" and "register in person as a sex offender with local/tribal/county law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which [I.M.T.D.] resides, is employed, and is a student."

2. L.L.S.

L.L.S., an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, was charged with committing an act of juvenile delinquency pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5031 et seq. for offenses committed in approximately January or February 2005 and September 2007. L.L.S. was born on January 19, 1991 and thus was between thirteen and sixteen years old at the time of the offenses and is twenty years old at present. Like I.M.T.D., if L.L.S. had been an adult at the time of the offenses, the charge against him would have constituted aggravated sexual abuse with children in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153(a) and 2241(c).

On April 30, 2009, L.L.S. pleaded true to the information pursuant to a plea agreement. The plea agreement states that "by pleading true pursuant to this agreement [L.L.S.] is waiving all the rights set forth in . . . paragraph [nine]," however, paragraph nine does not mention sex offender registration or any condition of supervision. Separately, the plea agreement states that L.L.S. "has been advised and understands, that under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, a federal law, the defendant must register and keep the registration current."

At the June 19, 2009 sentencing hearing, L.L.S.'s counsel noted that the question of "whether or not a juvenile should be required to register underneath . . . SORNA" was unresolved and pending before the Ninth Circuit. The district judge stated that "the issue that's before [the Ninth Circuit] is whether you can require a juvenile to register under SORNA at all . . . . And that issue, as far as I'm concerned, is preserved by you."

On June 22, 2009, the district court sentenced L.L.S. to official detention for three years, recommending that L.L.S. be placed in a therapeutic environment for youthful offenders, and ordered two years of juvenile delinquent supervision following his release from detention, subject to a number of special conditions. As special conditions, the district court ordered L.L.S. to "comply with the requirements of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act" and "register in person as a sex offender with local/tribal/county law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which [L.L.S.] resides, is employed, and is a student."

3. M.M.R.

M.M.R., a member of an Indian Tribe, was charged with committing acts of juvenile delinquency pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5031 et seq. for offenses committed on November 13, 2008 on the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation. M.M.R. was born on September 17, 1994 and thus was fourteen years old at the time of the offense and is seventeen years old at present. As with I.M.T.D. and L.L.S., if M.M.R. had been an adult at the time of the offenses, the charge against him would have constituted aggravated sexual abuse with children in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1153(a) and 2241(c).

On August 27, 2009, M.M.R. pleaded true to the information without entering into a plea agreement. At the September 18, 2009 sentencing hearing, M.M.R.'s counsel objected to the imposition of SORNA's registration requirements on M.M.R. The district court agreed to withhold entry of a final order pending its review of supplemental briefing on the SORNA issue. Both the government and M.M.R. filed supplementary memoranda in which M.M.R. argued "that he should not have to register under SORNA's sex offender registration requirements because M.M.R. is a juvenile and his registration would be anathema to the fundamental purpose of the FJDA."

On September 28, 2009, the district court entered a disposition sentencing M.M.R. to two years of official detention, rec- ommending that M.M.R. be placed in a therapeutic environment for youthful offenders. The district court ordered M.M.R. to enter juvenile delinquent supervision following his release from detention until September 17, 2012, his eighteenth birthday, subject to a number of special conditions. As special conditions, the district court ordered M.M.R. to "comply with Sexual Offender Registration requirements for convicted offenders in any state in which [M.M.R.] resides" and "register in person as a sex offender with local/tribal/county law enforcement in the jurisdiction in which [M.M.R.] resides, is employed, and is a student."

B. The Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act ("FJDA")

The FJDA, 18 U.S.C. ยง 5031 et seq., "governs the detention and disposition of juveniles charged with delinquency." United States v. Three Juveniles, 61 F.3d 86, 87 (1st Cir. 1995). First enacted in 1938, the FJDA was intended " 'to provide for the care and treatment of juvenile delinquents,' " id. at 88 (quoting H.R. Rep. No. 75-2617, at 1 (1938)), in recognition of significant differences between juvenile delinquents and adult offenders. As Congress later noted in a committee report on proposed amendments to the ...


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